Blessing Okagbare, 11 Other Nigerian Athletes Cleared To Compete In Tokyo Olympics
Reigning Nigeria sprint queen, Blessing Okagbare, has topped the list of 12 athletes cleared by Athletics Integrity Unit compete in the athletics event of ongoing Tokyo Olympics.
Okagbare, who is making her fourth appearance at Olympic Games, and who is Nigeria’s record holder in the 100m and 200m events, will be competing in the women’s 100m heat on Friday.
Also cleared to contest are sprint hurdler Tobiloba ‘Tobi’ Amusan, who is ranked number four in the women’s 100m hurdles; long jumper Ese Brume, who tops the world list in her event coming into the Olympics, and Grace Nwokocha, Nigerian-based sensation who clocked 11.09 seconds in March at MOC Grand Prix in Lagos state to seal her qualification for Tokyo Games.
Others are the trio of Divine Oduduru, Enoch Adegoke and Ushoritse Itshekiri who will be competing in the men’s 100m.
Oduduru will also race in the 200m, an event he holds the national record of 19.73 seconds; a time he set two years ago in Austin, Texas, in the USA, to win NCAA gold.
Shot putter, Chukwuebuka Enekwechi, who made it to the event’s final at 2019 World Athletics Championship in Doha, Qatar, is also cleared to compete.
In addition, 4x400m mixed relay quartet Imaobong Nse Uko, Patience Okon-George, Nathaniel Samson and Ifeanyi Ojeli are also cleared to compete and will be in action on Friday in the first semi-final heat.
Prince Adeniyi Adisa Beyioku, Secretary-General of Athletics Federation of Nigeria, says the athletes are in good spirits as they are determined to return Nigeria to the podium for the first time since 2008 when Okagbare and the women’s 4x100m won Nigeria’s last Olympic medals in track and field.
Beyioku expressed that he is happy the 12 athletes have been cleared to compete and assured that the federation will continue to be the goose that lays Team Nigeria’s golden eggs at the Olympics.
Athletics accounts for 13 of the 25 medals won by the country at the Olympics, including two of the country’s three gold medals.